Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Planetary alignment of 2000

One of the nice things about writing fiction is that you can create events to fit a narrative. Need a snowstorm to disrupt a Fourth of July picnic? Well, dial one up! Readers won't care. If your story takes place in a colder part of the world, like Montana, you won't even have to push the boundaries of plausibility. Indeed, you may not have to invent at all. In the opening chapter of The Mine, protagonist Joel Smith closely follows a TV news report about an alignment of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn on May 29, 2000. The celestial event sends him hurtling back to 1941. In this case, fiction followed fact by only three weeks. The six planets fell into a rough alignment with each other, the Sun, and our moon on May 5, 2000. The configuration was the first of its kind in 38 years but resulted in nothing more calamitous than a few news cycles of scientific commentary. More information on the May 5 happening and its predecessors can be found at NASA.gov. The planets will not do an encore for another 426 years.


  1. Although, never change a fixed event to fit your story if you're setting it in this world. I once read a book set in an old mansion and found out that the manion wasn't actually built until 5 years AFTER the story was set. Now whenever I think of the story, I can't remember it too well but I remember that. XD

    What you changed slightly is okay in my book though. :D

    ComaCalm's Corner =^.^=

  2. I generally agree. I wanted to keep the earlier May date and be completely true to history. But it is unlikely that two college students would have traveled several hundred miles to Yellowstone, during a school week, to go hiking in what would have likely been miserable weather. In fact, most students would have waited until after graduation. Memorial Day weekend was a compromise ;-)